Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.

 

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Rethinking the Infrastructure Gap in the Poorest Countries

A recent blog post by Ricardo Hausmann caught my eye because it addresses issues that I’ll be focusing on during my visiting fellowship here at the Center for Global Development. Hausmann—a former Venezuelan minister of planning—discusses the difficulty of closing the infrastructure gap in developing countries, and highlights the dilemma of whether governments should finance infrastructure projects through public-private partnerships or through their national budgets. He’s right about the dilemma, but his solution isn’t workable for fragile and low-income countries where infrastructure needs are greatest.

Can Sub-Saharan Africa Be a Manufacturing Destination?

A new paper coauthored by Alan Gelb, Christian Meyer, Divyanshi Wadhwa, and myself suggests that Africa is not, in general, poised to embark on a manufacturing-led take-off, stepping into the shoes of emerging Asia. Africa, including those countries that have come to be regarded as leaders in development, has high manufacturing labor costs relative to GDP as well as high capital costs relative to low-income comparators.

President Sirleaf’s Ambition for Liberia: Aid-Free in a Decade

CGD had the honor and privilege of hosting Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf—the first elected female head of state in Africa—on June 23.  At the event, President Sirleaf set a hugely ambitious goal of being aid-free within ten years. Given that aid currently accounts for more than half of GDP, this would imply serious increases in other sources of revenues, but it’s a well-calibrated message both to Congress and to audiences back home.

Stopping the Emerging Markets Contagion Boomerang

The U.S. rescue package is (rightly) focused on shoring up our domestic financial markets, ground zero in the global credit crisis. Even if this effort is successful, the United States and other global financial leaders cannot ignore the impact on emerging markets. As the crisis has now spread to Latin America, Asia, and elsewhere, we need to ensure that all available tools are used so that the downturn doesn't eventually boomerang back to us.

How to Travel Africa On the Cheap

U2 Front Man Bono and US Treasury Front Man Paul O’Neill may have had a few differences during their Africa tour, but they clearly agree that Africa needs increased market opportunities.